Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Be You & Shine

Don't be perfect
Be you
Don't be what you think they want you to be
Be what you know you are
Don't look outside yourself for anythingIt's all within.

-Jackson Kiddard, author

I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze that it should be stifled by dry rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.

-Jack London, London was an American author who wrote The Call of the Wild, White Fang, and The Sea Wolf along with many other popular books

Mindfulness & Meditation

Our yoga practice invites us to practice mindfulness - often equated with meditation. To meditate is to be fully present - not lost in the past or stuck in the future. In being mindful or meditating, we tune into our own experience through observation without judgment, fear or attachment. This enables us to recognize our thoughts, emotions, perceptions, reactions, habits, environment, etc. We can then identify benefits, patterns or correlations.

I challenge you to take your mindfulness practice off the mat. Below are a couple guided meditations that may assist you in journey to living in the present.

         Meditation w/ Anusara Yogi Bridget Woods Kramer

         Jack Kornfield Body Meditation

One Throat to Choke

It is true, one of my job titles is One Throat to Choke aka IT Systems Security. In addition to teaching yoga and running my Illuminate "business", I work in the information technology department at the West Des Moines office for INTL FCStone - a company of 1000 employees in 32 offices located throughout the world. There are only a handful of people that have administrative rights to a software system that controls access to the entire company's technology network. One wrong keystroke or misplaced character and the company goes down. The COO wants One Throat to Choke - that is mine & my colleague's.

Why do I share this? Well, many people assume that as a yoga teacher I lead this easy-going, no stress kind of life. That is hardly the case. With 40 hours in the office, an hour commute plus my own business, I utilize my yoga to find balance and connect with peace. What I share with you, is what I am learning. What has helped me navigate the trail of life.

Do you need some "YOU TIME"? A little break from work, the to dos and relationship demands... time to relax and reconnect with your spirit, body and mind? Perhaps a retreat is just what you need to nourish your body and soul. I find it essential to retreat... to step away from "daily life" for reflection, study or instruction. Having facilitated retreats for over 11 years I am thrilled to offer you an opportunity to retreat. I encourage you to give yourself a day to explore your yoga practice and connect with others at Illuminate You A Yoga Retreat Sunday, September 18 at Lake Ahquabi (early bird registration rate ends September 8).

There are many ideas enclosed in this newsletter to help you reconnect with you inner peace. Let me know if you have any questions. The September schedule is available for you to download. All in attendance are invited to look with a fresh eye and curiosity at the infinite possibilities that yoga offers our lives. Yoga is the practice of balance - mind, body, and spirit not just physical movement. The benefits of yoga are waiting for you, let's take advantage together.

Recipes & Articles

Delicious Recipes
Stir-Fried Cabbage with Red Chile Peppers, Peanuts, and Peas - packed full of flavor & easy to make... serve alone or with rice

Two Bean Vegetarian Chili

Interesting Articles
Yin & Yang of Fitness - The Best of Both Worlds - many cutting-edge coaches and trainers are moving away from the "all-intensity, all-the-time" model and toward a more integrated approach that blends the best of two worlds. Call it yin-yang fitness: Integrative exercise programs that combine the mind-body awareness often associated with "Eastern" methods with a more physical go-hard-or-go-home "Western" approach to build whole-person fitness from the inside out.

Addiction to Sugar is No Joke - Sugar stimulates some of the same neurotransmitters as, and in a manner similar to, alcohol, cocaine, and other drugs of abuse.

Extra Sensory Perceptions - Neurologists and others who study perception have long disagreed on the number of senses we possess to help us navigate our way through life.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

You Are Invited

Mother Nature is hosting Yoga on the Lawn Sunday, August 14 at 9am and I am teaching. This free yoga class is in West Des Moines on the lawn between City Hall (4200 Mills Civic Parkway) and the pond. All are welcome. Can't make it but would still like to get outside, check out this blog for some tips on the best hiking and camping in Iowa.

My second retreat of the summer is quickly approaching - Sunday, September 18. Illuminate You: A Journey through the Chakras is an opportunity to relax and play. Remember this retreat is set up in a way that you choose what you particpate in. From reiki to meditation and hiking to paddle boarding, you can retreat from the world with relaxing and or energizing activities. Early bird registration ends August 31. I encourage you to give yourself the gift of a retreat. You deserve it.

For those of you still wondering... Olivia's (my five-year-old sister & future yoga teacher) favorite yoga pose this year is Extended Big Toe Pose. Unfortunately, Yoga in the Park was cancelled but for the few of us gathered in the rain we did the pose. Olivia, true to form, told me my leg had to go higher... "higher, Nynny". Oh boy, she's a tough teacher!

Teaching yoga is my passion. I love working with you to affirm your own strength and balance. The benefits of our time together are more than I can begin to share. I see you and your bodies transform... it's amazing! Yet I see some of us stray from the practice. Please know that no matter how long it has been you always have a space in class. I share from my heart on and off the mat. It is from this place of love that I extend the invitation for you to meet me on the mat.

Yoga will strengthen and stretch the muscles in your body while relaxing and rejuvenating your mind. All exercise levels are welcome to participate. I hope to see you in West Des Moines or Lake Ahquabi for the retreat or at another class soon. Feel free to contact me with any questions. I can be reached at 515-979-6474.

Start with You

Who you are and what you do creates a ripple effect. As we extend the closing salutation Namaste we honor this in each other. In addition to the article on the ripple effect I highly recommend this blog post Live Your Purpose, Not Your Fears.

For your bellly, 11 Healthy, Tasty No-Cook Recipes for Cool Summer Meals

For your reflection, from author Jackson Kiddard
          I prayed for change, so I changed my mind.
          I prayed for guidance and learned to trust myself.
          I prayed for happiness and realized I am not my ego.
          I prayed for peace and learned to accept others unconditionally.
          I prayed for abundance and realized my doubt kept it out.
          I prayed for wealth and realized it is my health.
          I prayed for a miracle and realized I am the miracle.
          I prayed for a soul mate and realized I am the One.
          I prayed for love and realized it's always knocking, but I have to allow it in.

Gift of Yoga

Meditation Can Be Better than Pain Pills

What Science Can Teach Us About Flexibility - Great article. Definitely worth the time to read.

Have you ever felt that quivering feeling in yoga... your legs or arms begin to shake... this short Q&A might be interesting to you.